Friday, March 13, 2015

The Christmas Pie Post

You've read the title. You know what's coming. Ok listen. This is what happened. Right after Christmas time I went into a food coma and then promptly started a diet in January. You probably know the story because you are such a loyal reader. So I just, you know, couldn't risk writing a whole post about pies because I was in such a FRAGILE state.

Its fine now though, so in honor of SUPER PI DAY it's time to show you how the Christmas pies I made almost three months ago turned out. I made four pies for Christmas day. The first and best pie was the Spiced Apple Pie with Fluted Round Cutouts. Guess which one is mine.


Here is the Chocolate-Pecan Pie which actually turned out to be the same as a Kentucky Derby pie. Who knew? It's a ton of sugar plus a ton of corn syrup (liquid sugar) plus chocolate. I think it needed to be cooked much longer because the chocolate chunks never melted. This pie was very disappointing. IMO.


This pie was actually not on the 25 Perfect Pies list. It's called a Vanilla Bean Cream Pie and I made it in the spirit of Christmas per my little sister's request. It was amazing. Now one place I did screw this pie up a little bit was I mixed up this crust with the pecan pie crust. If you look above at the pecan pie crust might look a little dark. If you look below at the vanilla bean pie crust you will see that it is a little light. That is because one of the crusts needed to be pre baked and the other did not. The pecan pie crust was basically already done before it went into the oven for the pie filling to bake, and the vanilla bean pie crust did not have to be baked after I poured in the pie filling. Luckily the extra light pie crust turned out ok. Like I said, the filling was awesome. Thanks Liz.


Lastly we have Alexis's Sweet Potato Pie. This pie was good, but most people at Christmas seemed disappointed that it wasn't a pumpkin pie - including me. As you look at it on the fork on its way to your mouth, based on the way it looks, you expect the spices and flavor of pumpkin pie. But the flavor of sweet potato is much more mild, and the pie just falls short for something that looks so much like pumpkin pie. This pie was actually so unimpressive, I don't have a picture of it by itself. In the photo on the right you can see the sweet potato pie in the background of a photo of the real star of the day - spiced apple pie.


Oh, and also I made this gingerbread house!

Thanks for putting up with this insanely late post. You are the best.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

What Do You Call A Week-Long Hobby?

I think you could call that a project!

Behold last week's project: The type A person's dream makeup case.

Okay. Now that you've seen a picture of it, you can probably guess what my project was. I decided to change the way I organize my makeup. My existing system was good except for everything was put away and out of sight, so most of it went unused. I know this organizational "solution" won't work for everyone - ie: those with way more makeup than me or those who prefer a more organic storage solution. Aka: SLOBS. For me, this is a solution to specific makeup concerns I am/was having:

1) I own a lot of makeup and end up using maybe 10% regularly
2) Using makeup "regularly" to me is like once a week on date night, maybe
3) I've been getting acne like a 13 year old recently that I want to cover
4) I have the desire to wear a light amount of makeup more often to look a little more alert and put together
5) I already have/had an organized system for makeup storage, but the "out of sight, out of mind" principle applies heavily here
6) Packing makeup to go to my boyfriend's house once a week is getting annoying

About two years ago I was working with a woman at the Nordstrom makeup counter on an easy daytime look. Turns out a 30 step morning makeup routine is not right for me. Who knew. As I was checking out I saw the makeup planner. Jesus. It was like OCD love at first sight, but I had already committed to purchasing way too much makeup, and this planner was/is on the pricey side, so I resisted.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, and something reminded me of this makeup planner. Not sure why I thought of it, but a fire had lit under me. I started looking at planners and planning for my planner. I planned on what colors I would buy if i ran out of eye shadow - this never actually happens. I calculated how many pages all my makeup could fit into. I had to choose a size of planner too. A small one would be nice, but I had decided one of my goals was to hold as much of my makeup as possible in this planner so I could use more of it more often. Long story short I chose to go with the mid size planner.

From left to right you can see the small, medium, and large cases. They have been scaled to the same size, but if you look closely, you can see a difference in the amount of makeup each can hold. Also each case can hold a certain number of pages according to their product descriptions.

So once I was done obsessing over which planner to buy I went to the mall with my friend Meghan. We stopped at Sephora first, and this excellent makeup artist there recommended this Laura Mercier concealer for my acne coverage. She said when covering raised or textured (scabby - let's be real here) imperfections its best to go with a very hard, tacky product for coverage as opposed to a creamy formula. This concealer gets mixed on the back of your hand with a makeup brush to warm and blend the two colors of the product before you apply it to your blemishes with a tapping motion. Next we went to Nordstrom and I actually ended up buying this product there because I like my Nordy Notes (Nordstrom credit card rewards). Sorry, Sephora.

After shopping we went to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner AND cheesecake. YAAAS.

When I got home I was dying to assemble my makeup palette, but there was one problem. I've never "depotted" makeup before. That is how you get your makeup out of the container it came in and put it into a magnetized container to live forever. The Trish makeup comes ready to drop into your planner, but I don't want to use just Trish makeup because it's expensive and I already have a ton of product. So I made a new rule. I would depot and add all my current makeup into my planner with the goal of using it up before ever buying more. If you're like me... actually using up anything is rare. I'm flaky like that. Usually before a product gets used up I've either forgotten about it, gotten a new one, lost it, or it was stolen by an elf named Liz.

After watching a handful of youtube videos I felt ready to attempt to depot makeup. I decided to start on the cheaper makeup first and see how it went. I started with the top left and top middle palettes you see above. They are both Maybelline eyeshadow quads that I don't think I've used since high school (no lectures on bacteria safety, please), so I felt like if I ruined them it was no big thang. 

It was actually surprisingly easy to depot them. The worst part was cleaning off the glue that was stuck to the bottom of each one. Then I went for the bottom right, which is a sample of highlighter called Mary Lou-manizer made by The Balm I got from Birchbox. That was a cardboard container, and since depotting often involves an open flame, I needed to come up with a different strategy. I ended up just ripping the cardboard apart to free up the highlighter. No problem. 

Next was bottom middle, which is also a sample from Birchbox. It's dark brown MAKE eyeshadow but I use it to fill in my eyebrows. The MAC blush on the bottom right was relatively easy to depot as well. Then I went for the CARGO eyeshadow at the top right and unfortunately those pans were not made out of metal with magnetic properties, so I had to glue little magnets onto the backs of them. No big deal. Lastly I went for my Laura Mercier concealer that I had just purchased, and it was also a success, although now that I was an expert, I got a little overzealous and bent one of the pans. Great.

So you might think my projects stops there. You would be partially right, because I did too. Over the next few days I used my new makeup case every day and was loving it. However, the one thing I was missing was all of my fabulous lipsticks. I usually only wear lipstick if I am going for a bright, dramatic look, so I really only have bright, dramatic lipsticks. Here they are below. Since watching all of those depotting tutorials, I also came across strategies for paletizing your lipsticks too. Of course, I had to do it.

So basically your lipsticks start out looking like the picture above. Standard stuff. Then you twist them all the way out of the tube, chop it off, scoop out the stuff still in the tube, and put the nub you chopped off back into the tube. It's very simple. Some people cut off the lipstick and melt it down like crack on a spoon and pour it into the awaiting wells. This was too complicated IMO and I liked that the method I went with resulted in my lipstick tubes remaining useable. The photo on the right is the lipstick tube after being... harvested. The photo on the left is all five of my chosen lipsticks in one portable compact. Sweet convenience.

So here is what my planner looks like zipped up. I put it next to a tube of lube for reference. Jk I know its a jar.

This is what the planner looks like when I first open it.

The zipper pouch is removable, which is nice but I wish it had velcro because the darn thing falls out a lot.

Oh and I forgot to tell you, I got a second page later in the week for more of my makeup. I depotted some bright mac eyeshadows (that I will never wear) when I heard that you can trade in 6 empty MAC containers for a free lipstick. I have 5 so far.

Here are both of my lovely palettes.  

So yeah. I feel like I accomplished a bit with this project. For one, I pacified my extreme desire to get this darn makeup case. It cost $73 and another $20 for the extra page, which is why I put a lot of care and effort into stocking it the way I did. I also wore makeup to work every day last week - which was nice. Then I used it at my boyfriend's house over the weekend - also very convenient. However this week I have only just taken it out of my car today from the weekend. I'll do better next week.

I always do.